Tributes to aid worker killed by mosquito bite

David Murray. (s)
David Murray. (s)

Tributes are pouring in for an ex-Ribble Valley pupil who died after contracting a tropical disease - believed to have been caused by a mosquito bite - in Laos, south east Asia.

David Murray, known as “Muzz” to his friends, was three months into a year-long stay at a project teaching young orphans English, when bites on his legs became infected and he developed typhus and dengue fever.

He was a very kind and thoughtful boy and it is clear his desire to help others was a driving force in his life

Michael Wright, headteacher of St Augustine’s

The former pupil of St Augustine’s RC High School, Billington, had flown to Laos on March 5th after giving up his flat in Great Harwood for a year. He was taken to hospital after he started losing weight and feeling weak and tired. However, his condition deteriorated and he was taken to another hospital, where blood tests revealed he had typhus and dengue fever.

Mr Murray was then transferred to the larger Mahosot Hospital in Vientiane, where he died surrounded by friends and fellow volunteers on June 7th.

News of his death has devastated his parents, Michael and Rita, who live in Rishton. Describing their son as a “saint”, who had found something good in life, they said: “He was really dedicated. He was giving something back in life. He was a saint to the people he was helping in Laos.”

They added: “We last spoke to him on Skype four days before he died. He was so happy. He had found something good in life, that’s our only comfort.”

Similar sentiments have been shared by Mr Michael Wright, headteacher of St Augustine’s, who said: “We have a number of staff who remember David as a happy, friendly boy, who was always smiling and had good friends at school.

“He was conscientious in his studies and made a good contribution to school life. None of the teachers who remembered David were surprised to learn he was undertaking voluntary work abroad as he was a very kind and thoughtful boy and it is clear his desire to help others was a driving force in his life. We were very sorry to hear of David’s sudden death and our prayers and thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”

Mosquitoes: the facts

Mosquitoes have been around since the Jurassic period.

Mosquitoes are considered the deadliest “animal” in the world.

The two main mosquito predators are fish and dragonflies.

Mosquito is Spanish for “little fly.”

The average mosquito lifespan is less than two months.